Moline sophomore Megan Pittington did not think it was any big deal when she would win the 100 and 200 at junior high meets.
“It was fun,” she said of those days. “Me and Shaniah Holiday would compete against each other. She went to John Deere (Middle School). And I won a lot.”
But when she got to Moline High School and was competing against varsity athletes and still winning, it dawned on her.
“I didn’t really think any of it until last year, the first meet, ‘I think I kind of am fast,’” she recalls thinking. “I just thought it was middle school meets, not a big deal. Then I started winning high school meets as a freshman, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I might actually be decent.’”
Decent enough to qualify for Class 3A state in the 100 meters, 200 and 400 as just a freshman.
A year ago at the Western Big Six Championships, Pittington took second in the 100 with a time of 12.64, third in the 200 with a time of 25.70 and first in the 400 with a time of 59.58.
In the sectionals, she ran a 12.62 100 for fourth place, a 26.29 in the 200 for second place and a 59.14 in the 400 for second place. All were good enough to qualify her for state, where she did not reach the medal round of the top nine.
“She’s already doing better this year than she was doing halfway through the season last year,” Moline coach Joel Bohnsack said. “She’s doing awesome.”
Pittington would like to get to state again in all three events. She’s willing to add a relay or have it perhaps take away from one of the three individual events.
“Medaling this year, if not next year in one of them” is a goal, she said.
She says she learned some things at last year’s state meet.
“It was a good experience,” she said. “I had no idea what to expect. They just said to ‘it doesn’t really matter as much this year, as see what’s going on.’ It’s just good so that this year, when I go down, I kind of know what to expect, so I can set higher goals.”
The atmosphere on the Eastern Illinois University track is different compared to most other meets during the season.
“It’s much more intense,” Pittington said. “It’s much more serious. It’s kind of like one shot.”
Her favorite of the sprints is the 200 meters.
“Last year I did the 400 only a few times,” she recalled. “I liked it. But I think probably the 200 (is my favorite). The 100 is just so quick. I don’t think it’s my best event obviously. The 200 is my best event so I think it’s the most fun.”
A year older, wiser and stronger, Pittington, a three-sport athlete, has been working at improving her starts heading into this season.
“My starts can improve and just getting stronger every day improves me,” Pittington said. “Looking at times from this year and last year, I am a lot stronger and faster this year than I was last year."
Perhaps most importantly, as she heads into her sophomore season, Pittington is still having fun.
“It’s just a lot of running,” she said. “There’s not really much else to do so it gets a little overwhelming at times, but once I get to the meets and do the events, I would miss it if I couldn’t do it.”